A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern
ed by Todd McCaffrey
The dedication for Dragonwriter is to “all those who have found solace in the Worlds of Anne McCaffrey and Pern” and that’s exactly who this collection is for. All of us who’ve dreamed of her dragons, of flying her brainships, of being a Talent in our own right.
These essays all encompass different aspects of the same great woman, yet cross and overlap consistently to paint a picture of this larger than life, mischievous person who is Anne McCaffrey. Some of the essays head into the history of McCaffrey’s career, detailing certain aspects or shedding light on events that became turning points. Some of them give larger, more macro-oriented overviews. And some are more personal, more focused on the relationship between essay writer and McCaffrey.
All of the essays come from the writer’s specific viewpoint, highlighting the ways they knew McCaffrey and how she affected or influenced them. The writers are an eclectic bunch, with some of them being fellow writers who were either inspired by or mentored by McCaffrey in some way. Some of them knew her in other ways, such as being an editor she worked with, convention runners, a singer/songwriter, a cover artist, and, of course, her children, each of whom leave their own mark within these pages.
I recommend this non-fiction book for all who fell in love with McCaffrey’s fiction, regardless whether it was Pern who first brought you to her work or another of her series, especially as The Ship Who Sang is referenced a great deal, particularly in one emotional essay. This will only heighten your appreciation for these stories, as well as making you fall in love with the woman behind the words.
Posted in Recommendation
Tagged science-fiction, novel, anne mccaffrey, fantasy, sci-fi, nonfiction, book, dragonwriter, todd mccaffrey, pern, essays, essay, non-fiction
This week the stories are about leaving worlds and homes and histories in the past. They deal with heartache, yes, but also of looking forward, into the future.
ALL WORLDS LEFT BEHIND by Iona Datt Sharma is about a woman named Priya whose family had access to a portal world. But as she prepares for both a funeral and her own wedding, she realizes that she is losing her hold on this portal world, that it might very well slip from her grasp. Published in khōréō magazine.
WINGS OF LIGHT by ANNA MADDEN is a tale about an ant warrior desperate to defend her colony from attack, yet is given a responsibility that doesn’t conform to the life and death she had expected for herself. She’ll have to come to terms with this new responsibility, for the future of her colony depends on it. Published in Hexagon Magazine.
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Tagged anna madden, fantasy, fiction, hexagon, iona datt sharma, khoreo, magazine, sci-fi, science-fiction, short reads, short stories, short story
by Nnedi Okorafor
Sankofa, the Adopted Daughter of Death, is a young girl protected by a green glow from within that can kill all it encompasses. Everyone knows of her, everyone fears her, and the tales told of her are many and varied.
Remote Control takes you through Sankofa’s life, from her youthful bouts of malaria and her conversations with a mysterious seed, through her attempts to live undisturbed in a world that insists on her evilness. This is a tale about perseverance, prejudice, and home.
There’s a lovely metaphor here for all those who have at some point in their lives felt they ruined everything they touched, who have struggled to find a place where they belong, people who could understand them. For those who feel they hurt those closest to them, and try as they might, always seem to destroy good things around them, this tale can be cathartic.
Yet, this story is also for those who have grown stronger because of the thorns on their path. Sankofa might not be who we are, but there’s a piece of her in all of us.
Both stories this week are related to the past returning. The characters are wildly different: one a very young girl, reaching for a past she’s never had, and the other a woman who has tried to leave her past behind her.
GRAY SKIES, RED WINGS, BLUE LIPS, BLACK HEARTS by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor is a tale set in a society where souls can be eaten or lost, becoming unattached to the person who once owned them, creating soulless. The lead character, Redcap Kestrel, takes up a request to find a missing girl’s soul, but that request leads her through her own history and the people within. Published in Apex.
THE TASTE OF CENTURIES, THE TASTE OF HOME by Jennifer Hudak is a tale about a young girl living in a quiet world where the only humans are her mother and grandmother. Until one day, she sees someone else come through a portal. This leads her to question her grandmother while the two of them bake the bread of her family, wanting to discover all about the world left behind, a world she’s never been to, yet to which she feels connected. Published in khōréō.
Both these two stories deal with parental relationships with their daughters when those relationships are bent and twisted.
My Mother’s Hand by Dante Luiz is about a sailor whose mother possesses her arm. That is probably enough of an intrigue to go read this story, but it gets better, for the tale revolves around identity and the power and pain wielded by those who believe they should have say in their children’s identities. Published in Constelación.
Ask the Fireflies by R. P. Sand is about an AI who loves and cares for a little girl, and above all else strives to protect her, from her parents, from her doctors, and from her own dark thoughts. Absolutely enthralling, this story deals quite viscerally with the question of what a life is, regardless whether it’s visible to others. Published in Clarkesworld.